I was born in conservative family, where do’s and don’ts were the norm . Despite that, it is a great family through which I’ve learnt so many valuable lessons of life. When I look back, there are some things I wish were done differently, but since I cannot change the past, I have accepted it but made a conscious decision to learn from it and make better and informed choices about how I want my life to look like. One of the things I’ve had to cultivate as a behavior that was never part of my growing up is the ability to question, to question things I don’t understand, to question my own beliefs, values, norms, culture, behaviors, etc. Growing up in my family and community, questioning anything was unheard of; it was interpreted as challenge and disrespect to the elders, secular and ungodly. This meant I had to live by what I was told or given, without questions..
During my senior years in college, I started challenging myself and this way of life; I began a journey of self discovery. It was a very rough start considering that I had to challenge 20+ years of living a particular way, believing certain things and behaving a certain way. I did not realize that embarking on this life long journey meant having to challenge my own status-quo before I could own up to anything; I did not know it meant introspection (something I was not familiar with) which, for crying out loud, brought out emotions and feelings I never knew existed, including many that I was not comfortable with. Many were the times I wanted to give up and maintain my traditional ways; ways that were safe and did not require so much work. I wished I had left the boat unshaken and left things the way they were; predictable, routine, unquestioned and unaltered. But then in the back of my mind I still asked myself; am I happy living the way I’ve always lived? Is that fulfilling? Or could there be more to life than what I knew? My quest of wanting to find answers to these questions opened doors to a life long journey of trying to find answers to many questions I had; questions I would never ask, other questions I never realized I had and wanted answers to, etc. Today I am happy, happy not because I’ve found the answers, but happy because I am discovering many things along the way; things about myself, about who I am, what I I want, what I love, what I believe in and why, what my dreams and aspirations are, what makes me laugh or cry, what things are meaningful to me and why. Today I am able to say who I am without fear of being different, without fear that my needs and wants are not similar to those of others, without fear that I aspire for the impossible, without fear of being judged by others; be it my family, friends, any community that I am a part of, and any other person in this world. I have come to learn that we all are unique and different, and that we are born different because we are all on different and unique missions. So today, do not be afraid to question who you are, why you believe what you believe or behave in the way you do, because once you begin to understand yourself, you will own up to your behavior, you will not be afraid of being judged and you will start discovering for yourself your life’s mission and pursue it without fear. And remember, it is your responsibility to know who you are; why you are here, what you believe in and why, where you want your life to be and why you behave the way you do, no one else will know this for you, others will only want to force their way of life on you. So it’s either discover your own path or mission in life, or let others decide that for you, either way, the choice is yours.